Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler became the latest NFL star to hit the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday — something nearly every team is now dealing with as cases rise throughout the league.
Ekeler spoke about his diagnosis during his weekly appearance on "Ekeler's Edge," a fantasy football show hosted by Yahoo Sports' own Liz Loza. Ekeler said he wasn't feeling well after the diagnosis and expressed pessimism over being able to return in time for the team's Week 16 game against the Houston Texans.
"Don't recommend," Ekeler said. "Zero out of 10 fun. Just dealing with this day-to-day. We have new protocols in place. I had to get tested every day and have two negative tests and no symptoms. And so right now, I can tell you it's not looking good [for Sunday's game], just because the history of COVID and how long it usually takes to dissipate or at least for your body to beat it. So, I'm just going to be chilling."
Ekeler, 26, is in the midst of a career-best season. Ekeler has rushed for 789 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns, blowing his previous career high of three out of the water. He's also been a threat in the passing game, racking up 62 receptions for 558 yards and seven scores.
The Chargers — who are currently at 8-6 and two games behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West — are currently listed as -9.5 favorites on BetMGM for Sunday's game against the Texans at NRG Stadium.
NFL dealing with multiple players on COVID-19 list
The Ekeler news comes as multiple NFL teams are trying to limit COVID-19 outbreaks. Over 100 players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to Week 15. Three games were pushed back a few days to try and allow players to return in time to play.
The NFL continues to deal with COVID-19 as Week 16 approaches. A number of Kansas City Chiefs, including Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list following their Week 15 win over Ekeler's Chargers. New York Jets coach Robert Saleh and Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni were also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday.
Both the NBA and NHL are also dealing with COVID-19 situations. The NBA has postponed at least seven games due to team outbreaks. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday there were no plans to stop playing despite the rising number of positives around the league. On Monday, the NHL decided to pause the season until Dec. 26 due to COVID-19.
As of Wednesday night, the United States was averaging nearly 155,000 new cases of the coronavirus each day — which is a 27% increase over the past two weeks and a figure not seen since early September, according to The New York Times. About 71% of Americans aged 12 and up are fully vaccinated.